Tag Archives: Self-Defense

Self Defense: Getting Comfortable In Uncomfortable Situations

Have you ever taken a self defense class? I’m not talking about the fun girls’ night, gouge the eyeballs, kick ’em in the groin, and laugh at your friends one-time self defense class that often comes to mind. I mean a self defense class, with a well-trained instructor that teaches techniques and skills that can actually be useful in real-life situations? A self defense class that incorporates techniques from some of the most functional and effective martial arts in the world, such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Krav Maga. If you have then you know what I mean when I say these classes teach you to get comfortable with being in uncomfortable situations. And while some of these uncomfortable situations do incite giggles, it’s clear that being uncomfortable is not just for fun, but is a necessity for learning how to defend yourself effectively.

My First Class

I remember when I began learning self defense from Japheth, years ago, in a class with several other women who were also new to self defense. There was a lot of nervous giggling, and I’m not ashamed to say a lot of it came from me. While I enjoyed the kicking and striking parts of class (who doesn’t?) I was nervous and cautious when it came to kicking and striking pads that other women were holding. It felt weird putting all my strength into essentially fighting another person. I eventually overcame this of course, but it took some getting used to. And then came the takedowns and the ground work, and the introduction of a whole new level of discomfort. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a true art form. A powerful combination of cognitive skill, mental manipulation, and physical mastery that is unrivaled. It is a challenge like no other, not just because of the amount of mental and physical energy required, but also the level of discomfort involved. The ability to be okay with straddling a stranger or being straddled by a stranger, often bringing faces, crotches, and/or feet into close contact with various other body parts, does not come naturally for a lot of people. In fact, I’d venture to say that some women and men do not like BJJ – and often do not stick with self defense classes – for this reason. People are not innately comfortable with being put in uncomfortable situations. Psychologically and physically, we choose flight.

So Why Do It?

To answer this question, let’s come back to why you came to a self defense class in the first place. Chances are you want to learn to prevent and defend against an attack. Think of an attack that feels comfortable. Right…there isn’t one.

So when learning to defend yourself from an uncomfortable situation you must face the discomfort, acknowledge it, and overcome it.  It’s survival. 

BJJ gives students the skills necessary to defeat even bigger and stronger opponents, how to get out of inferior positions, and how to instead achieve advantageous positions. What would you do if attacked from behind? Or taken down to the ground with the attacker on top of you? Learning how to move and use your body on the ground, especially while in uncomfortable positions, is necessary in order to be successful in any type of ground encounter.

Submission choke hold

BJJ teaches real life techniques for real life situations. With a skilled and trusted instructor, in a safe environment, you can and will learn to become more comfortable with the thought and the reality of uncomfortable situations. Take it from me – and the other women in that first class that are still my friends years later, despite us sparring each other every Wednesday night – getting through that discomfort is worth it, for you and for your loved ones.

I encourage you to find an ongoing self defense class and learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones. Learn more about our self defense classes and contact us to try our online self defense services, or if local to Philadelphia, a class or private session.


11 Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Family from a Home Invasion

11 Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Family from a Home Invasion

It’s not something we like to think about, or even talk about (I shudder even writing this) but home invasions and burglaries do happen. Sometimes when when no one is home (burglary), but not always (home invasion). Probably many of you reading this can think of a home invasion in or near your neighborhood that you’ve heard of at some point. Yes, it can happen to your neighbors, and it can happen to you. As a self defense instructor, Japheth has always been extremely vigilant and alert when it comes to people coming onto our property, and handling uncertain situations. When our car got broken into, in our own driveway, I think it was a surprise to all of us. Even when you know it can happen to you, you don’t really believe it until it does. That was just the kick we needed to take our security measures up a notch though, and to be even more alert.

Did You Know…in our neighborhood, we have people coming to our door, sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. They may be selling magazine subscriptions, trying to get signatures on a petition, offering yard services, or even claiming to be electricians or cable company employees. While this sometimes may be true, our local police officers told us that some of these people are going door-to door canvassing houses and plotting criminal activity. In fact, they asked us to call the police anytime someone comes to our door that we do not know.

So while all of this may sound daunting, it is not meant to make you paranoid, just alert. If you’re reading this in the first place, you probably aren’t terribly surprised by anything I’ve already said. We hope that these tips will help raise awareness, improve safety, and empower you to make necessary changes to feel as comfortable and safe as possible in your home.

11 Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Family from a Home Invasion

1. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings. Awareness is key. Get to know your neighbors, the cars in your neighborhood, people that typically walk or run through your neighborhood. Notice if anything seems suspicious or out of place. A strange car parked around the corner that’s not typically there, especially if it has people inside, may be suspicious. A car slowly circling through the neighborhood; a person you don’t recognize walking slowly, eyeing houses or going to doors. Trust your gut, and don’t be afraid to call the police if anything feels out of place.

2. Remember to Lock Up. No matter how safe you feel, ALWAYS lock doors (deadbolt) and windows.

3. Be Confident and Loud. If/when strangers come to the door, loudly ask them to leave. DO NOT open the door. Even if they seem harmless they could be there to scope out your house and what’s inside. If they don’t leave, call 911 immediately.

4. Home Security System. Invest in a good quality home security system.

5. Keep Your House Well-Lit at Night. We recommend motion-detector floodlights placed anywhere that would be a path to a main door, and placed in low light areas (i.e. Path to backyard).

6. Security Cameras with Motion Sensors. This is sometimes included in the home security system. You can find decent quality cameras and motion sensors for a reasonable price online.

7. Stickers and Signs. We recommend “No Trespassing” stickers and alarm signs (even if you don’t have an alarm).

8. Keep the Exterior Clean. Try not to leave heavy objects that can be thrown through a window, or ladders (used to climb to higher windows) outside.

9. Get a Large Dog. I read an interview with prisoners who previously made their livings through burglaries and home invasions. I found it interesting that while cameras and security systems would deter some of them, others knew how to work around those things and would break in anyway. But what all of the inmates agreed on was that if a home had a large, vocal dog, they would almost always stay away!

10. Make it a Family Thing. Make sure you’re family is on-board with your security and safety measures and can use them just as effectively as you. Practicing is never a bad idea.

11. Self Defense. Learning how to defend yourself should the worst happen is imperative. Find a skilled and well-trained instructor ideally certified in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and/or Krav Maga. Take your loved ones.

We hope these tips will help empower you to make your home feel more safe and secure. What are you already doing to protect your family at home?

15 Ways to Prevent and Defend Yourself Against a Street Assault

15 Ways to Prevent and Defend Yourself Against a Street Assault

Through the years we’ve had people attend our self-defense and MMA classes for many varied reasons. From someone who has experienced assault in the past to someone who wants to stay as safe as possible in the future, an understanding of the importance of learning to defend one’s self is key. It’s survival. I think we all have that part of us that thinks “it’ll never happen to me”, until it does. That’s one of the human flaws, right? That feeling of invincibility. But maintaining this denial is only doing yourself and your loved ones a disservice, and ultimately putting yourself in harms way. Every person deserves to know how to defend themselves from attackers, protect their space, and protect their loved ones.

Here we’re sharing 15 tips to preventing and defending against a street assault. Keep in mind that this is a general and foundational list of safety tips:

  1.  Be aware. This is the most important tip of all, and the foundation of protecting yourself in every situation. Always look around you and be aware of who is there, where you are, and what is happening nearby. Do not run or walk with headphones in; you need to know what sounds and sights surround you at all times. And on that note, you also want to:
  2. Walk confidently, head up, steady stride. A confident stride and a clear sense of awareness can make you less of a target.
  3. Trust your instincts. If you feel something isn’t right – it probably isn’t – get away as fast as possible. Listen to your inner voice and take action. Do not try to rationalize it away. Do not be nice because you think you should be.
  4. Stay in groups. There really is safety in numbers. This is especially important when walking at night or in more secluded areas. And also:
  5. Stay in crowded, well-lit areas. Switch sides of the street if your side is dark, avoid that alley, etc.
  6. Walk facing traffic, not with traffic. When walking with traffic, one can be more easily grabbed or forced into a car.
  7. Keep valuables secure – including cell phone. Hold purse or wallet firmly under your arm or hidden, and keep your cellphone away. Remember #1?
  8. Maintain space. Change path, direction, or sides of the street if you feel uncomfortable.
  9. If you are being followed or watched get to a safe well-lit and preferably crowded area as soon as possible. Call 911.
  10. If someone is getting too close for comfort, make noise. This is not time to be embarrassed. Shout, yell, make noise and draw attention.
  11. If you are being mugged, give them what they want – don’t hesitate. Purse, keys, wallet, anything but YOU. Run…
  12. Escape. The best way to beat an attacker is to get away – do whatever you need to do so you can run away to safety as quickly as possible.
  13. Never, EVER go to a secondary location with them. Your odds of survival go down significantly. If they try to force you to, fight. Fight for your life.
  14. Practice. Taking a one-time self-defense workshop is a great start, but for best benefit don’t stop there. Find a reputable self-defense center to train, ideally multiple times every week ongoing, to build skill and confidence. Train at a safe but high intensity – what good is your technique if you don’t practice it at full power? When looking for places to train for self-defense look for good reviews, and for instructors with backgrounds in:
    -Krav Maga
    -Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
    -Muay Thai
  15. Visualize success. Visualize yourself successfully avoiding, fighting, and escaping from various self-defense situations. Believe it or not, your body will do what your mind imagines.

Let us help you learn to prevent and defend yourself, through our virtual or in-person training. Contact us today! 215-360-3085

Women’s Self-Defense Workshop


Women’s Self-Defense Workshop

Come train women’s self-defense with Japheth!

His self-defense workshop will teach proven and effective techniques to defend yourself in any situation. It will incorporate an integrated blend of Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), and Muay Thai. You’ll learn fundamental and advanced details of striking offense and defense (punch, kick, knee, elbow), defense from being grabbed, choked, or bear hugged, and more!

Whether you would like to learn self-defense for the first time, are an experienced martial artist, or just want to mix up your workout and routine and have fun, you have found your workshop! No experience necessary. All levels and ages welcome. See you soon!

Japheth’s self-defense instruction was featured on CBS and FOX news, He holds instructor level certification in Krav Maga and Muay Thai. He holds a purple belt in BJJ under Royce Gracie with multiple national and international level medals. He lives with his wife, son, and daughter in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.

Schedule: Saturday, November 21st 10am for 1 hour

$25 for unlimited class members of Water and Rock Studio  
Space is limited, contact us today to register!